Day 49: Telling the Truth

I wrote a blog over four years ago entitled, "Real Friends Tell You the Truth."  It is my all-time most read single blog entry with over 2500 hits.  People are directed to this blog from all over the world for one reason, they are searching for a way to be honest with their friends or because someone was honest with them.  I know this because of the words and phrases they type in as their search.  Words like, "honest friends" and "telling the truth to your friends" and "friends tell the truth" and "friends don't lie" and "when a friend tells you the truth and it hurts."

Sometimes I feel bad that people are directed to my original post about friendship and truth, because it is such a "tongue in cheek" post, and they are obviously looking for some help.  So I thought I'd say something a little more to the point.

Let me begin by saying, real friends tell the truth.  They tell you the truth because they love you enough to do so.  I'm not talking about the kind of truth that is mean-spirited and intended to deeply hurt you.

Real friends won't tell you things just to hurt you.   But a real friend will tell you the truth, even if it does hurt, because they love you enough not to ever let you die your hair brown again or wear that stupid dress that makes your butt look huge or date a guy that is B-A-D for you, or take a job just because it pays well even though it's totally wrong for you, etc.

Most likely, if you are reading this blog because you googled, "telling the truth to your friends" it is because you have something hard to say to a friend and you want to know how to do it.  And most likely not something lighthearted like any of the above examples I gave.

I wish I had a how-to for you.   (I'm sure there probably is one online somewhere for you, but this isn't it).

But I can tell you that before you speak the truth to your friend you must weigh several factors.

Have you built the kind of friendship, over time, that has given you PERMISSION to speak hard truth into the life of your friend?

Have you and this friend spoken simple truths to each other? "Girl, that is a bad haircut.  Get a hat."  And if you have, how did that go?

Is this actually truth, or just your strong opinion about the issue?

Have you prayed about this? (I"m a Christian, so this is an important step to me.)

Is telling your friend worth risking your friendship over? (You need to feel THAT strongly about it)!

Is there a better person to speak this to them?  Are you the RIGHT person?

And lastly, are you telling them the truth because they need to hear it, or because it will make you feel better to say it?

All that to say, friendship is too important to let things go unsaid that need to be said.  But not everything you think needs to be spoken either.  Real friends do tell the truth, because they're real friends.  But they speak the truth in love, with gentleness, and your best interest at heart. 

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